Jesper Grønkjær (1977)

Jesper Grønkjær (born 12 August 1977) was born in Greenland and grew into a winger with a good track record. He played for Ajax, Chelsea and Atlético Madrid. And there are no less than 80 internationals behind his name.

Jesper ended his active career with FC Copenhagen in the 2010/11 season. Where he played since the 2006/2007 season. But it all started in 1977 when he saw the light of day in Nuuk, Greenland. This is an autonomous region within the Kingdom of Denmark. In other words, Jesper was granted Danish nationality. His career earned him contracts with AaB, Ajax, Chelsea, Birmingham City, Atlético Madrid, VfB Stuttgart and thus FC Copenhagen.

The Danish Tornado' was able to attack both left and right. His continuation was also above average. This made him loved for trainers to draw up and thus bring about war on the flanks. The left-winger quickly became a darling of the audience with his quick actions. Jesper Grønkjær started his football career in his hometown of Thisted. Here he switched to AaB as a youth player. This is a Danish sports club from Aalborg that besides football also has an ice hockey, handball and basketball department.

Shortly after his switch in 1995, he made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old in a Super Cup match against FC Copenhagen. He immediately played himself in the base and would play 86 games in three seasons in which Jesper had the enemy net 10 times. This earned him an extremely high interest from his compatriot and coach of Ajax; Morten Olsen. It was therefore no surprise that Olsen had him picked up in October 1997 for a transfer fee of about five million euros.

At Ajax, Grønkjær manifested himself as a classic winger with a sharp cross and classic passing action. Here, however, his greatest handicap would also be exhibited. During his Ajax period he suffered both large and minor injuries. Nevertheless, after the 1999/00 season he was named 'Ajax Player of the Year' by the supporters. Twelve goals were scored in two seasons and 55 games. In the 1998/99 season with the Dutch Cup he had taken the only prize by scoring both goals in the final against Fortuna Sittard.

There is a nice anecdote about the Deen during his stay in Amsterdam. Andy van der Meyde was the instigator: "After training, we always had to sign autographs on shirts that were ready for us on a table," van der Meyde recalls. 'Then we and the team once put Grønkjærs jeans there and all drew on them. The good thing was he did it himself when he came out of the shower. Jesper didn't realize it until he wanted to get dressed."

However, the Deen was able to cross the North Sea at a cost of approximately EUR 11.5 million. Grønkjær didn't really have to leave Ajax. But the club from Amsterdam could not say no to the millions of Chelsea. In London we saw Grønkjær reunited with Mario Melchiot. Who made the same summer the switch to 'The Blues'. Jesper was disappointed to have to leave the Netherlands. He felt like a commodity but accepted it.

At Chelsea, Jesper Grønkjær scored eight goals in 88 games. After four seasons under coach Claudio Ranieri, he left Chelsea for Birmingham City in July 2004. This transfer involved some 3.3 million euros. From that moment on, a period began at various clubs in the European sub-top. After a weak start at Birmingham, he was sold to Atlético Madrid in December 2004. Again, Grønkjær could not show stable form witnessing the sixteen games without scoring. This had also been the 'final score' in Birmingham.

Jesper was sold again six months later to VfB Stuttgart, where the Danish international Jon Dahl Tomasson also played. Trainer Giovanni Trapattoni was determined to take Stuttgart to the Top of The German. Despite this determination and the high expectations that accompanied it, the performance was not achieved. The club remained a 'grey' midfielder. Tomasson and Grønkjær clashed with the flamboyant Trapattoni. This put them on the bench but the club fired the Italian headmaster.

Still, the Danish darts player thought it was enough. He went back to his roots and decided to put on the football boots for defending champion FC Copenhagen. After eight years abroad, he returned to the Danish Super League in the summer of 2006. Here he would play with number 10 on his back for five more seasons until his career was interrupted in 2011.

A farewell in style. His last game he played against the club where it started: Aalborg BK. He also did this in the typical way for him by pulling in from the left flank and then curling the ball into the far corner. He finished with a goal, a 2-0 victory and the Danish title.

With Denmark, Grønkjær, type of darter outside player, played at the European Championships of 2000 and 2004 and the World Championships of 2002 and 2010. After denmark's elimination at the 2010 World Cup, Grønkjær announced his international retirement. The international counter was stuck at eighty, the number of international goals at five.

After his career, Jesper Grønkjær was appointed an analyst at Danish Television. He also joined the amateur football team FC Grassroots. This is a team of former players who can't miss the noble game of football.

(Photo: Wikipedia)

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